Irrespective of whether we are talking about the forthcoming future or the far or extremely distant future occurring in fifty years' time, the future is not merely the extended present: improved and ennobled (which is the belief held both by the natural born optimists and learned optimists. I believe I belong among the latter) or deteriorated and crippled present, which is what is advocated and feared by the natural born pessimists or by apocalyptic pessimists whose beliefs result from their life experience. The fact that any future originates both from the present and the past is an inalienable truth. Nevertheless, it is a proven fact that the future is the result of mutual permeation and action of a wide range of natural and social factors: conscious (smart, less smart, silly and even dangerous and self-destructing) and even unconscious, both individual and collective human decisions.
The brilliant American economist Albert O. Hirschman, who is not widely known among members of the Croatian public, believed that the future is frequently a consequence of the action of the "hidden hand principle", i.e. a wide range of unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances, favourable and lucky or unfavourable and unlucky.
It is precisely due to the latter that, when talking about the future of man and mankind, human brain and mind, human character, love, human emotions in general, sexuality, marriage, family, conception, birth, dying, death and society in a very distant future happening in five decades, one needs to distinguish between at least three aspects of the future: the plausible future, the probable and the preferable future. One certainly also needs to be aware of their opposites: the implausible, improbable and undesirable future. One may even claim that the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century have in fact transferred a "utopian pendulum" from philosophy, theology, social and humanistic sciences to natural, biomedical, technical and information sciences.
Traditionally optimistic social science scholars who have been convincing both themselves and the public that "evolutionary" future will be better, fairer, richer and happier compared with the present, "have apostatised" into those advocating fear of the future, fear of self-destruction both of the human race and the ecologically fragile planet Earth. During the last three decades their utopian passion and convictions have spread among physicists, molecular and other biologists, geneticists, neuroscientists, information scientists and other natural scientists and primarily the hyper-optimistic futurists-utopians among them. Notwithstanding the fact that fascinating development of natural and biomedical sciences and a slightly slower technological development are already suggesting that utopian visions about stopping the aging process and ensuring eternal life, creation of trans-human beings and "humanoid robots", travelling to and inhabiting most distant planets, growing babies in artificial wombs, human cloning, genetic interventions that ensure perfect physical, spiritual and emotional health, mass production and renting of perfect humanoid male and female sex robots, among others, are becoming our reality, ruthless, worldview, morality and judicial and judiciary wars will be waged for these and the related issues (that in turn address other vital issues, which provide the foundations for the beginning and the end of human life, health, survival and the natural selection of the species).
The effects of these wars will define the new moral world order, which will have to establish some balance between the fascinating – both creative and destructive – power of science and technology on the one hand and the human need to live in harmony with the primeval natural laws that enable the survival both of planet Earth and men and women as we know them. The worldview, media, political and referendum battle fought in Croatia concerning the Istanbul Convention is from that aspect child's play compared with morality, worldview and political wars that will be waged concerning both the man and the society of the future, as well as concerning the beginning and end of life, conception, euthanasia, cloning, development and use of artificial intelligence, sexual orientation and sexual and gender rights and identity.
The very well-known modern-day "prophet", computer scientist and self-proclaimed "biomedical gerontologist" Aubrey de Grey in a large number of his books, popular science texts and public speeches proves that the first human being who will be "forever living a healthy life for a thousand years has already been born". Such an assertion, accompanied by a statement that he has personally been working with his associates on identification and elimination (through genetic interventions) of factors of aging, has been attracting the attention of the media that crave for sensationalist scientific and "prophetic" assertions.
The prominent French-Croatian molecular biologist and academic Miroslav Radman has been navigating the same bio-utopian waters. He is also convinced that scientists, perhaps even he and his associates at the Split-based Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences (MedILS), will soon grasp the mystery of the biogenetics of aging and will succeed in – rejuvenating people. It is important to highlight an interview, among a vast array of interviews about this issue that he gave slightly over a year ago to the Večernji list journalist Slavica Vuković. The text was published under the title "We rejuvenated mice, we will do so even with humans"; Večernji list, 24th July 2017.
"The virus" of biogenetic and technological hyper-optimism and utopianism contagiously spread to a large number of world-renowned scientists-futurists. One of the greatest modern-day "prophets" and "architects" of the future is certainly Michio Kaku, Professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, author of a wide range of futuristic best sellers. Before his latest book was published (The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny beyond Earth), it is important to mention his most popular book entitled The Future of the Mind. He anticipates that in around a decade, we will be witnessing a kind of INTELLIGENCE REVOLUTION: "Over the forthcoming decade we will see a gradual transition from inter-network (the Internet) towards brain-net, which will enable an instantaneous transfer of thoughts, emotions, feelings and memories throughout the planet. Scientists will be able to connect human brain to a computer and start decoding some of our memories and thoughts. This might eventually revolutionise communications and even entertainment. Films of the future will be able to convey emotions and feelings, rather than merely pictures. Historians and writers will be able to record events not only digitally, but also emotionally. Perhaps tensions among people will be reduced, as people will start feeling and experiencing the pain felt by other people".
I do not believe that the previously quoted and the related countless utopian visions about eternal life, hybrid human brain and mind or brain-net, as well as about the discovery of "the seat" of human soul will come true in the forthcoming decade. I believe they will not even come true by 2068 or even by 2118. Concerning this issue, I consider myself as a scientific and social realist who believes that "mad scientists" will not rule the world after all, turning upside down everything that we know and that we are about to find out about the creation of the world and man and primarily about the natural selection of the species, as well as the theory and practice of evolution. I believe one of the most interesting futurists born between two huge generations, the Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari (his most popular books Sapiens and Homo Deus have been published in Croatian) is right to claim that we are living in an age in which a "global useless class" is being established (whose places have been and will be taken over by robots), yet also in an age in which "time is accelerating". The notion of "long-term" has seen substantially changed in the 21st century: the long-term may no longer be defined in centuries or millenniums, but in terms of 20-years.
In the interview published in The New York Times on 19th March 2018, he explained the phenomenon of time accelerating as follows: "We are in an unprecedented situation in history in the sense that nobody knows what the basics about how the world will look like in 20 or 30 years. Not just the basics of geopolitics but what the job market would look like, what family structures will look like, what gender relations will look like. This means that for the first time in history we have no idea what to teach in schools“.
A sceptical attitude towards euphoric scientific and technological optimism does not prevent us from seeing the revolutionary development of artificial intelligence and the potential of its use in the "upgrade" and trans-human enhancement of human body, mind and brain. The brain, mind and emotions of the trans-human of the future in 2068 will only show and prove the extent of the ingeniousness and prophetic potential possessed by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (around 460 – 380 B.C.). At that time ancient philosophers and physicians were uncertain about the seat or the location of what we currently refer to as human mind, while the dominant stance was that their seat is in the heart. Nevertheless, Hippocrates wrote as follows: "People need to know that the brain and brain only is the seat of our satisfaction, happiness, laughter and jokes, as well as of our sadness, pain, grief and tears... I believe the brain is the most powerful organ in the human body and I also believe that the brain interprets our consciousness".
Nevertheless, irrespective of the overall scientific and technological development and even the development of artificial intelligence and its use in the expansion of human memory and both of our work and creative potential, I believe that by 2068 (many readers of this essay will live to see that), or even by 2118, mankind will not be able to "decode" the secrets of the human mind, sprit and soul, not to mention human feelings, longings, love, hatred, hope and – human will. One of the most interesting wise philosophical stars of the 21st century was the Swiss and Jewish philosopher, residing in London, Alain de Botton, the initiator and President of the international "School of Life" (the Croatian "reformed" experimental "School for Life" parasitically literally plagiarises both the name and the idea). In his book entitled The Course of Love, he shows that Romanticism, the social movement from the end of the 18th century; during which poets, musicians, philosophers, writers and artists had the upper hand, provided a brand new PARADIGM OF LOVE.
According to Alain de Botton, Romanticism united love and sex, transforming the sexual intercourse into the most sublime, ultimate expression and proof of love. Moreover, according to De Botton, Romanticism transformed adultery into a personal disaster (most commonly for women) and he provided the idea of the romantic, fatal love and love at first sight. Most importantly, the overall selection of the spouse was left at the mercy of feelings, excluding the possibility of any practical thoughts and judgements. The paradigm of romantic love despised the idea of marriage of convenience based on practical judgements about property, educational level of the partner, social position, income, family background of the spouses, business and other interests. Romanticism – in Western, yet not in Eastern civilisations – declared marriage of convenience to be an absolute evil that leads to loneliness, rape, infidelity, marital violence, suicide and husband-wife homicide. According to the romantic love paradigm, the spouse is the soulmate, the best friend, one’s fate throughout life, a co-parent, the one who provides spiritual and emotional support, ideal and the only sexual partner, co-builder of the marital and parental nest.
Notwithstanding the immense amount of evidence concerning the fact that romantic-marital-family paradigm is a myth, which, according to Alain de Botton, harms and destroys both marriages and human lives, it has survived all the temptations faced during the last two centuries. Moreover, that idealised, romantic, fairy tale of love, sexuality, marriage and family has been enhanced through mass media, Hollywood film industry, production of love soap operas throughout the planet, as well as through classical spiritual production: poetry, prose and music, among others.
The idea of romantic sublime love will certainly not disappear by 2068. Nevertheless, what will certainly gradually be vanishing is the cult and even the moral terror of one-dimensional, dogmatic, romantic love, sexuality and procreation, which are unaware of and do not recognise the right of an individual, a man or a woman, to "use the mind", as an intermediator and to correct the effects of love at first sight, Platonic, romantic love on the one hand and practical, "calculated", long-term sustainable love on the other hand. The latter has been confirmed by love and similar relationships between wealthy men and beautiful women or wealthy women and young men throughout the world.
Ultimately, love and even its evil sister hatred, is a pluritarian rather than a unitarian concept. Different types and forms of love appear, disappear, die and are reborn (romantic love, Platonic, sexual, family, parental and adulterous love, to name a few) in relationships between the spouses, both in marriage and family relationships. The same applies to hatred (rational, irrational, ardent, murderous and suicidal hatred). Contemporary historians of human sexuality, among which I do not believe to belong, are already in the position to rather accurately define the beginning and the end, or at least the twilight, of the sexual revolution that symbolically started in the 1960’s, whose pinnacle was reached at the mythical Woodstock – the festival of rock music, sex, peace and soft drugs – held from 15th to 18th August 1969. The revolution symbolically started on the day – 9th May 1960 – when the American Food and Drugs Administration approved the use of the famous (contraceptive) PILL. The approval of use of the pill jeopardised the traditional moral dogma about the myth of the trinity of love, sexual intercourse and conception, while simultaneously separating sexuality and sexual pleasures from procreation. The pill provided sexual freedom for women and for the first time in history women were in the position to enjoy the sexual intercourse without fearing the unwanted pregnancy.
The sexual revolution in the 1960's, currently considered old-fashioned, symbolically lasted until October 2017, until the appearance of a new women's/feminist movement named #MeToo; hence, for 57 years. Although the battle cry of the movement against sexual harassment, assault and abuse #MeToo was conceived and first used by African-American feminist and civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the movement gained its media and political momentum in October 2017 after the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had been convicted for sexual harassment and rape of a large number of young actresses. After a large number of celebrities had joined the #MeToo movement, it went global. Besides its morally indisputable goal – combatting sexual harassment and sexual assault – the #MeToo movement, as well as its predecessors (the movement against what is considered as politically incorrect and against sexual harassment at universities and in the workplace), implied huge risks that may be referred to as male heterosexual phobia: men fearing seduction, love games, flirting and even the traditional "compliment giving". Fear of what in the distant past was referred to as - harmless, ritualistic "male subtlety" by the Serbian ethnologist and anthropologist Ivan Čolović.
That risk, the risk of "the end of sex" in the West, albeit thus far not yet in the East and the South, has been confirmed by a wide range of research studies about the drop in female and male fertility and infertility, decreasing sperm quality, loss of libido among both men and women, as well as declining interest among youth in the opposite sex and sexual relations, among others.
A new shock from the aspect of sex and procreation is certainly about to be caused by the production of artificial wombs, as a result of which all the women will be faced with a dilemma: whether to endure around nine months of pregnancy or cede the "effort" to new advanced reproductive technologies. The technology which, according to connoisseurs of this scientific and technological field (it is important to mention the paediatric surgeon Alan Flake, M.D. and the writer Aarathi Prasad, the author of "Like a Virgin: How Science Is Redesigning the Rules of Sex"), will be available to women, human embryos and humans in around two decades or slightly more.
In the forthcoming three decades the development of biomedical reproductive technologies and genetics, including the human cloning technologies, will enable the transformation of the overall traditional process of sexual intercourse, conception, pregnancy and birth. Nevertheless, the question remains whether these new scientific and technological opportunities will be legalised, in what way and at what level: national, multinational or global. Some authors, for example, the bioethicist and law professor at Stanford University Henry Greely, Ph.D, the author of "The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction", claim that in the future the non-reproductive sex will be reduced merely to a "recreational activity".
Simultaneously, against the backdrop of a quiet, capillary heterosexual counter-revolution, the homosexual pluralist revolution is currently still in full swing, through which, after the NORMALISATION of all the forms of homosexual and "hybrid" sexual orientations, the normalisation of paedophilia has been knocking on the door. The latter is not an unprecedented historical phenomenon – in antiquity and other ancient communities and cultures. From that aspect, I believe Guillaume Faye, the author of Sex and Deviance (London: Arktos, 2014) is right to claim that a clear line finally needs to be drawn between homosexuality as a biologically and/or culturally given sexual orientation and aggressive ideological, political and propagandistic exploitation of homosexuality; in narcissistic, infantile and exhibitionist gay "pride parades". I believe that it is primarily this publicly manifested, narcissistic and aggressive segment of homosexual revolution that appeared both under the auspices of and in historical twilight of (hetero) sexual revolution the one that will be gradually fading away in the forthcoming years and decades, only to disappear completely by 2068. Since, as stated by Faye: is there any reason for a person to be "proud" of merely because of their homosexual orientation.
Sexuality will, most probably, never again fully return into the sphere of intimacy, privacy, bedroom and marriage, but it will cease being the matter intended for ideological and political use and abuse.
The development of artificial intelligence and robotics has already launched a vast array of male and female sexual robots, intended to satisfy and who will satisfy some of male and female sexual fantasies, drives and needs that people have historically satisfied in brothels and through masturbation. Nevertheless, irrespective of the fact that sex and sexuality will not have the same importance for new generations compared with what was the case with the previous generations, the human need for love and sexual pleasures will overcome the temptations to the human race that result from the modern-day scientific and technological development. Although half a century is a substantial period, one has to believe that "the old fashioned" sex will yet again be popular by 2068.
Irrespective of the fact that the so-called Croatian liberal thinkers may believe that the recently held referendum about the constitutional definition of marriage (held on 1st December 2013; with 37.9% registered voters casting vote, almost two thirds of whom voted in favour of the decision to include the following definition into the Croatian Constitution: "Marriage is a lifelong bond between a woman and a man") was the swan song of the traditional, conservative and Christian perspective of marriage and family, history teaches us that worldview beliefs, including those about marriage and family, frequently circulate.
Long-term statistical data about marriages entered into and those that ended in divorce and children born in marriage and those born outside marriage in developed countries prove right those who claim that there is no future for traditional marriage "Til death do us part". If we start from the proven fact that the current situation with marriage and family in developed countries is a good indicator of future processes in less developed countries, then the thesis about "the end of marriage" is well-founded. In Nordic countries, as well as in a considerable segment of Western Europe, the number of young men and women (aged between 25 and 35) living together outside marriage is roughly identical to the number of those living as married couples. Simultaneously, divorce rates in wealthy European countries exceed 50%, while in some Nordic countries they exceed 65%. At the same time, throughout the world, including Croatia, we are currently witnessing a boom of something that we can refer to as ceremonial wedding industry: pompous and expensive weddings and everything they imply. Both in the modern-day and the tomorrow’s hyperactive world that pulsates in the rhythm of the well-known verse written by Petar Preradović "The only thing that is constant in this world is change!”, it is difficult for me to imagine the return into the age of the dogma of the lifelong bond of marriage. Nevertheless, in the forthcoming decades scientific and technological development could and should provide an improved choice of "soul mates" that will not be based on the idea of ideal eternal love, but on an assisted, rational choice made by the spouses. In the future an important role in the stance towards marriage will certainly still be played by creeds, religions and churches, as well as the conscience of men and women about parental responsibility for the sake of the children who will even in 2068 have the need for parental harmony. The development of reproductive technology will significantly affect the future of marriage and the very idea of marriage and certainly the stance of future generations towards cloning, neural engineering and genetic engineering in general. In close connection with the present and the future of marriage, as well as in relation to development of science and technology, one needs to consider also the present and the future of the family. In fact, should utopian visions about the discovery and modification of the "gene of aging" become reality, which also implies the announcements of a significant extension of the human lifespan, the current United Nations World Population Prospects (7.6 billion in 2068 and 11.2 billion 2100) will backfire.
This would simultaneously mean that by the end of the 21st century the average family would "extend" from three-generation (grandparents, seldom great-grandparents, parent and children) to multi –generational families.
Clearly, the type of the family to be expected in the 21st century and beyond depends on the outcome of the worldview wars that by 2068 and beyond will be waged concerning the future of mankind – production of trans-human beings, sexual orientation and gender identity, human cloning, gene banks, babies from artificial wombs, production of artificial intelligence robots, humans travelling to distant planets (these journeys would last so long that children would be born and raised during the journeys and even their ancestors would die) and eugenics in general.
Allow me to draw the following conclusion. Brave new man, world and mankind in the 21st century will be going through an absolutely exciting evolutionary phase. It will be so exciting that I am slightly envious of the people who will be living, thinking, working and creating in this – crazy and unforgettable age.